Dr. Steven Teitelbaum: Good Plastic Surgeons Save Lives

25 Oct 2012 at 4:05pm

Why it's more important than ever to see the best board-certified surgeons. 

Cosmetic surgery is about beauty and self-improvement -- but very much more about your health. As Dr. Steven Teitelbaum, Assistant Clinical Professor at UCLA and a board-certified plastic surgeon, explains in his column for the Huffington Post, it's crucial to remember that your surgeon is a doctor first, and an artist second. 

Steven TeitelbaumIn the past two weeks, I've diagnosed four patients with breast cancer. That might not sound like a lot for a busy doctor, but I am a plastic surgeon. My patients see me voluntarily and our interactions are full of happiness and optimism. This isn't supposed to happen. It is wrenching to tell just one patient they have cancer, so this cluster has overwhelmed me.

All of these women had scheduled plastic surgery and their cancers were detected during their pre-surgical work-up. One was diagnosed by mammogram; another had a mass that had been dismissed; one traveled from a country with socialized medicine where she had been waiting months for an MRI; and on another I biopsied a suspicious lump.

What does this mean for them? It requires a 180-degree shift from being enthusiastic about having surgery to look better to being scared about having surgery to excise a cancer. For some it will mean chemotherapy. But for all it will mean a better chance at a cure.

Have you had a life-saving experience with your surgeon or doctor? Read the rest of Dr. Teitelbaum's column here, and tell us about it below or in our Reviews section

And always remember to find a highly qualified, board-certified doctor for whatever procedure you're considering in our Doctor Directory